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If you would like to study at UNESCO-IHE, there are fixed English-language

requirements which you need to fulfil. You must have a recognised English qualification
at a sufficient level to be a successful applicant to the institute. The main certificates and
minimum scores accepted are given below.

Qualification / Certificate
IELTS (International English Language
Testing System) Academic test

Minimum score accepted

Band 6 overall
(Band 6.5 is preferred)

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign

internet-based test iBT
paper-based test PBT

86 overall
570 overall + TWE 5.0

Note: the PBT must also include a TWE (Test

of Written English) certificate, the CBT
(computer-based test) is no longer valid.

Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers

of Other Languages):
Certificate of Proficiency in English CPE
Certificate of Advanced English CAE

First Certificate in English FCE

Business English Certificate BEC

Certificate of English Language Skills

Business Language Testing Service BULATS

Higher level
Higher level
74 overall

TELC (The European Language


telc English C1


Michigan (Cambridge Michigan)

Examination for the Certificate of
Proficiency in English ECPE


MEASURES TO IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH and meet the requirements

The following pages list a number of suggestions to help you improve your
English skills to pass the tests and prepare for MSc or PhD study in English.

UNESCO-IHE: English Requirements and How to Achieve Them

Compiled by WJ Sturrock

Take an English course

To increase English skills to a level suitable for academic study, you are strongly
advised to undertake an intensive English course at an official language school.
Depending on your starting level, this may be for 3-12 months part-time or 1-3 months
full-time. Choose a language school which offers courses leading to a specific (and
recognised!) qualification, such as those in the table.
If there are no suitable language schools in your area, you might consider following an
online course. If you search internet, you can find hundreds of options. Again, look for
an organisation which offers courses leading to real qualifications, and check if the
organisation providing the online courses is accredited by independent, external
standard-setting agencies, for example: ITTA (International TESOL accrediting authority)
or IADL (International Association of Distance Learning). Some suggestions:

Lingua Edge. An accredited, high-quality language school.
SelfAccess. A good value-for-money option which offers specific exam-training
courses for IELTS and TOEFL certificates.
Myngle. Another good option, offering one-to-one tuition using Skype.

Another way to quickly improve your English is to attend a residential school in an

English-speaking country. Check this website for some options: You can live with a British family during your study, which
gives extra opportunity to practice and accelerates your learning even more.

Practice and Prepare For Tests

In addition to language-school courses, many books and CDs are available for self-study
and to practice for tests. If these are difficult to find in your country, you can order them
from an internet bookstore, such as

Focus on Academic Skills for IELTS (M Terry and J Wilson, Longman)

May be used for self-study. Provides practice of the four skills; language review
for revision after each module; self-check progress tests for self-assessment.
Step up to IELTS (V Jakeman and C McDowell, CUP)
This course covers the skills and language essential for the IELTS exam, and
provides students with tips and advice on how to maximise their band score.
Cambridge IELTS (different authors for 4 different books, CUP)
The self-study pack provides a book with answers and audio CD. Each book
contains four complete practice tests for the IELTS academic module.

UNESCO-IHE: English Requirements and How to Achieve Them

Compiled by WJ Sturrock


Longman Preparation Course for TOEFL Test: iBT. Student book with CD-ROM and
answer key, Second Edition (D Phillips, Longman)
This course gives you all the tools you need to succeed on the TOEFL integratedskills test. It provides both a comprehensive language skills course and a wealth
of practice for all sections of the test.
Longman Introductory Course for the TOEFL Test. Preparation for the Computer and
Paper Tests, Second Edition (D Phillips, Longman)
Complete multimedia TOEFL course helps intermediate students prepare for both
the paper and computer version. A good course if your current scores range from
380-480 (paper) or 80-160 (computer).
Longman Complete Course for the TOEFL Test. (D Phillips, Longman)
Also book/CD TOEFL course which focuses on skills-building to prepare for both
the paper and computer version. For students whose current scores range from
480-600 (paper) or 100-250 (computer). Includes bonus test CD-ROM
Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL Test with CD-ROM, 3rd ed (J Gear and R Gear)
This comprehensive test preparation course includes skill building exercises and
practice tests all in one volume.

If your English level is still rather low, it might be wise to aim for the FCE (First Certificate
in English) before attempting the CAE exam.

New Progress to First Certificate (L Jones, CUP 1)

A clear and colourful course prepares students for the FCE exam. Available as a
self-study edition with answer key and transcripts.
Fast Track to FCE (A Stanton and M Stephens, Longman)
Coverage of key topic areas, lots of related vocabulary and essential grammar
work gives students everything they need for the exam.
Cambridge Grammar for First Certificate (L Hashemi and B Thomas, CUP)
Suitable for self-study, with audio CD. This book provides complete coverage of
the grammar needed for the FCE exam. Develops listening skills at the same time.
Cambridge First Certificate in English CD-ROM (Cambridge ESOL and A Battersby,
CUP) [Second edition plus tests]
A versatile way to practise for the FCE at your own pace, with sound, video and a
range of tasks which cover all five papers.

Cambridge University Press

UNESCO-IHE: English Requirements and How to Achieve Them
Compiled by WJ Sturrock

Cambridge First Certificate in English (P Carne, L Hashemi and B Thomas, CUP)

Suitable for self-study. A set of seven books each containing four practice tests
for the FCE exam. Available with answers.
Common Mistakes at First Certificate and how to avoid them (S Tayfoor, CUP)
Based on analysis of real Cambridge ESOL exam scripts, these books provide a
unique resource to highlight typical mistakes. Clear explanations, varied examstyle exercises and regular tests help learners get it right.
Fast Track to CAE (A Stanton and S Morris, Longman)
Advice and guidance on exam strategies, techniques and skills. Regular exam
practice sections show progress.
The Cambridge CAE Course (M Spratt and L Taylor, CUP)
In addition to emphasis on skills development, this course focuses on other areas
of language such as pronunciation, vocabulary, functional language and style. The
self-study version contains notes on CAE exams, with study tips, answers and
Common Mistakes at CAE and how to avoid them (D Powell, CUP)
Based on analysis of real Cambridge ESOL exam scripts, these books provide a
unique resource to highlight typical mistakes.
Grammar and Vocabulary for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency (R Side and
G Wellman, Longman). Preparation book covers grammar and vocabulary
essential for exam success. (With answer key)

For more information on CUP books or CDs, visit the website:
See also: and
See Longmans full online catalogue at

Testing centres

For IELTS, details of the test (dates, cost, etc) and a list of testing centres can be found
at or you can do this via the British Council
Details of the TOEFL test can be found at
For detailed information about all University of Cambridge ESOL examinations and
international testing centres, go to

UNESCO-IHE: English Requirements and How to Achieve Them

Compiled by WJ Sturrock


English Grammar in Use (R Murphy, CUP)
The best-selling book on English grammar. It presents grammatical rules simply
and clearly. Now available with CD-ROM.
English Basics: A guide to grammar and writing (M Cholij and G Nagaraj, CUP)
A self-study reference and practice book which focuses on frequently encountered
problems of grammar. Includes a full answer key.
English Vocabulary in Use (various authors, CUP)
A well-designed series of self-help books at various levels. Expands your
vocabulary in a wide range of (general) English subject areas.
Successful Academic Writing (A Gillet, A Hammond, M Martala, Pearson Longman)
An excellent self-study book which develops your ability to communicate your
ideas and research fluently and successfully in writing.
The Study Skills Handbook (S Cottrell, Palgrave Macmillan)
Invaluable advice on topics such as time management, improving your memory,
writing essays, revising for exams and critical analytical thinking.
Dictionaries (on CD)
Longman Contemporary Dictionary of English
Cambridge Learners Dictionary
Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary * Highly Recommended! *


A final possibility, though least reliable, is self-study via internet. Numerous websites
now exist with information and guidance on English language learning. * Highly Recommended! * * Highly Recommended! *
Also, dont forget that the publishers of English course books often provide extra support
and resources on their websites which are linked to specific books, offering online
practice materials, exercises, etc. For example:

UNESCO-IHE: English Requirements and How to Achieve Them

Compiled by WJ Sturrock